Tasting the Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen

One of the original and founding American Craft Breweries is still one of my most favorite. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co doesn’t shock and awe me with mystical or insane combinations of ingredients in their beers, or drive my scenes with wild styles or unheard of creations. What they do do, is create some of the world’s best constructed classic beer styles.

Their year round offering consists of a Pale Ale, Porter, Stout, Weisse, and Double IPA. All pretty classic. Beyond that Sierra offers a Bock, Oktoberfest, Barleywine, Christmas Beer, and an Anniversary Ale. The key here is all their beers are produced with whole grown malts, hops, yeast and water. Nothing fancy, just pure beer craftsmanship.

Last night I enjoyed my first Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen, and once again Sierra proved to me that they can create some of the best classic beers the world has ever seen.

The Kellerweis comes in Sierra’s classic short 355ml bottle at 4.8% abv with a pretty yellow label. I do really appreciate Sierra Nevada’s branding. All of their beers bear the same formatted logo and structure, but are all easily distinguishable. They don’t need to create fancy names, or wild images on the beer to get their point across – their products and their beers speak for themselves.

I opened the Kellerweis cold around 7C (45F) as should be a weisse of this sorts. Luckily I had a nice Sierra Nevada Pint glass, so I poured it slowely down the side of the glass quickly straightening it to build a nice luscious head. And so it did. A beautiful pillowy and airy off white and cream head build two inches on top of the beer. It was filled with activity and showed a cascade of larger bubbles bursting into smaller more delicate ones.

Also to note, this beer is bottle conditioned in the classic manner, so when pouring, stop when there in one inch of beer remaining, swirl it to lift the sediment, then finish your pour with all the flavors in tact.

The beer the foam lay on was a light and hazy golden orange with an opaque structure and yellow beams of sunshine peering through it. It showed medium rich golden browns and huge depth – a very beautiful and classic Hefeweizen so far.

The nose too would not disappoint. It was light and soft, but filled with the subtle flavors of wheat, banana, clove, cinnamon, touches of bubblegum, sweet pale malts and hints of yeast. It showed a light presence but much character. Again, very classic.

I pictured myself on a hillside in Germany with a soft warm breeze caressing my face with fresh flowers and wild earth. Once in the right state of mind, I went in for a refreshing and soothing gulp of America’s representation of a German classic. Thank you Sierra Nevada. The Kellerweis really captures it perfectly. Rolling onto your palate are soft and gentle pale malts showing mellow sweetness and a touch of caramel. This is followed with more soft flavors; mellow sweet and earthy wheat glides across your tongue and easily invites itself into your cheeks. Hints of banana, clove, bubblegum, hay field, muddled spices and fresh yeast all are distinct and perfectly balanced.

It is not a powerful beer, it is only 4.8%, but once again, it is a superb representation of the style offering huge character in a delicate manner. Hops flow in with floral and lightly bitter refreshing flavors. They bring light herbs, hints of citrus and a perfect crisp finish. The mouthfeel was soft, delicate and lightly effervescent and overall very refreshing. It made the entire beer seem as if it was destined to be enjoyed in the sunshine – ehem… Which it was.

The Kellerweis was so easy to enjoy, and really would be exceptional in the heat of the midday sun. Its smooth and elegant flavors, plus generous character make is a crowd pleaser every time. Think smoked salmon and cream cheese, or soft breads with butter. Serve it cold, and with light flavors on a hot day, and you have yourself a winner!


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